December 06, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Richmond - Attractions
Today I had the opportunity to try a sport that I’ve never played before
in my entire life: curling. I remember watching the intense and
strategic games of curling during the Olympics, but beyond that the
closest I’ve come is bocce ball, which is not very close.
headed down to the Richmond Curling Rink, located kiddy corner to the
Richmond Olympic Oval. They have a great facility including eight sheets
of ice (play areas), a café, pro shop, and a huge sports bar and lounge
with a fantastic observation area overlooking the arena.
arrived with my friend Colin, who is an avid curling enthusiast and was
eager to get on the ice and throw some rocks with me. Before we began
however, I was introduced to the local resident expert Kim, who was more
than happy to show and explain the ropes of the game to me. Curling is
an interesting sport as it’s extremely technical and all about finesse.
The most common beginner mistake is throwing the rock too hard- a lot of
times it’s the gentler, steady shots that win a given game. As I
watched the various games going on around me, it became immediately
apparent the huge amount of strategy and positioning involved in
curling. This can be a dirty game! When I say that I mean like chess
dirty—out maneuvering and one-upping your opponent. I like it.
objective of curling is to push a 44 pound rock down the playing area,
called the sheet, and try to land it in the ‘button’ (bulls-eye) at the
far end. It is essentially a huge target on the ice about 146 feet away
from where you start. Frozen bocce on crack is a good analogy.
a quick on ice lesson on proper rock throwing technique (I was awful,
despite what Kim says), as well as a briefing on sweeping techniques
(yes, women sweep better than men- ha!), I was ready to try my luck! I
positioned myself and placed my foot in the ‘hack’ (like a starting
block used to push off of), broom in hand for support, and grabbed my
rock. Eyes on the target, I pushed off and launched my rock. I soon
found out that it’s imperative to the game of curling that you keep your
rock on your sheet of ice and not your neighbour’s. You don’t get
points for completely missing your target and landing it next door. Ha!
Well, despite my lack of curling skills I had a blast and it was a great
Colin soon challenged me to a three rock game
for beers upstairs afterwards. Since I know you’ve watched the video you
all know how that turned out. J Winter ale with winter sports. I love
If you’re interested in trying some curling or already are a
curler, the Richmond Curling Rink offers league play, tournaments, train
and plays, event hosting and sheet rental. Of course if you’re a
‘gifted curler’ like me, the bar and observation deck upstairs are also
an excellent choice! Definitely check them out and have some fun!
November 30, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Car / Truck / Motorcycle
This week’s video I am titling ‘Richmond in Motion.’ This is an idea I’ve had for a while; the concept behind it capturing the bustle and activity (aka motion) of Richmond through time-lapse photography.
I’ve done a little tiny bit of time-lapse photography in the past, namely my star gazing video earlier this year, however this was my first project dedicated solely to it. I think time-lapse photography is really underrated—the amount of time it takes to get those shots can be staggering. Suffice to say, this project’s given me a newfound respect for it. Those tiny little five-second shots you see certainly have a price! In my case, each shot you see is anywhere from 10 minutes on the low end, to 35 minutes on the high end, per clip!
I spent about four separate days out shooting these time-lapses, the first batch of which were ruined due to poor weather. It also didn’t help that daylight in the last few weeks has been diminishing at an alarming rate. The sunsets this week have been happening at 4:00PM! With my current schedule, I generally work late into the night and sleep in during mornings, so as you can imagine it gives me a limited window! “Wake up early Chris!” Shhhh!
That being said, I’m very happy with the result. Please enjoy Richmond In Motion!
November 24, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Bird Watching
Find more information about Richmond - Bird Watching
What is that noise!? Chances are if you live in Richmond or have been visiting Richmond in the last few weeks you’ve heard the insane amount of squawking going on. Yes, it is none other than the fabled snow geese horde that has taken over the city. (Yes, I call them ‘the horde!’)
Each fall, tens of thousands of snow geese touch down in the Fraser Delta, a huge portion of them landing specifically in Richmond. They breed way up in the Northern tundra’s of Canada and Alaska and migrate South every winter to the warmer climates of the lower mainland. They travel almost 5,000km on their journey to get here and it is quite a sight to see!
For me personally, I welcome the sight of them. I think it’s amazing to walk into a field covered in beautiful white snow geese. It represents the changing of the seasons and is a nature photographers dream! It’s an incredible sight to look up to the sky and see hundreds upon hundreds of white birds flying in formation over the city. I love it!
For others, namely the Vancouver International Airport, the snow geese are a major concern. With the massive amounts of geese flying in they have to be very careful to avoid bird strikes with their jets. To combat this, the airport uses lasers, lights, pyrotechnics, and trained dogs to chase and scare them out of the away from the runways. YVR actually employs three ‘bird officers’ whose sole job is keep the runways clear!
If you’re in Richmond and you can actually find the horde, (It’s difficult! They move around A LOT!) I highly recommend you grab a camera and check them out! Seeing 5,000 white birds dominate a school field is quite a sight! Even better news, if you’re superstitious, you have about 10,000 chances to get pooped on this winter! Think of all the good luck! ;)
November 08, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Arts, Culture & History Tours
If I asked you what Richmond’s biggest export was, could you tell me? A few weeks ago I didn’t know myself! I probably would have guessed seafood—it is in fact, cranberries!
This week on The Richmond Reel I headed out to Richmond’s vast agricultural lands to take a peek into the lives of our local cranberry farmers. I was fortunate enough to cross paths with a woman named Charl May, a local farmer from Richmond’s May family. The May family? This family has made quite a name for themselves and owns a huge amount of agricultural land in Richmond. Several brothers in the family spearhead the cranberry harvest each year. Who better to show me around than a family that’s been farming in Richmond for 100 years?
The cranberry harvest begins in October and lasts till about November each year. Assuming you already have a crop planted and growing, the first phase to the harvest is flooding the fields. Using an elaborate canal system dug around all of the fields, the farmers funnel river water into the bog and begin the process of flooding. Depending on the size of the field, it takes about one day of flooding to fill one field.
The next step is the beating phase. This is when a series of machines called ‘beaters’ come in and thrash the field, knocking the cranberries off their vines so they float to the surface. The beating phase takes about one day to two days per field depending on the size. At this point, the sea of red that the cranberries are so famous for begins to materialize. It is a beautiful sight to see.
So now we have a huge field full of floating berries. It’s at this point that the berries are ‘boomed’ and siphoned off. The fields are absolutely enormous so the farmers utilize wind direction to their advantage in cordoning off the berries… and there are A LOT of berries. Depending on the year, a single field may produce anywhere from four to ten truckloads of cranberries. Charl’s family has eight fields in Richmond, as well as a number of others in Fort Langely.
The next step is extracting the berries from the field. During my time in the bog I saw several different methods employed to do this—it seems that each family has their own way of doing it. Charl’s family used a combination of water pressure to funnel the berries up a conveyor belt into the waiting trucks. Another nearby May farm used pressure and hoses to pump the berries out of the bog. It’s a pretty cool process to see, and it’s amazing the amount of berries being extracted.
The final step is taking the now collected berries to the co-op—in this case the giant Ocean Spray factory located on Richmond’s No. 6 Road. The berries are then cleaned and processed into the various cranberry products you know and love.
That’s the entire process to the harvest! It’s a lot of work in very cold and wet conditions! That being said, every farmer I met during my several trips out to the bog was in great spirits and always gave me a smile and wave. Thanks again to Charl and the May family for allowing me to come out to their cranberry farm and film them during the harvest! The only shot I seemed to have missed was Charl tripping in the bog and going face first into the cranberries. Next year!
November 01, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Outdoor Activity Tours
Find more information about Richmond - Outdoor Activity Tours
So as you know, I just recently did ‘Richmond By Air’ with Helijet…. Since then I’ve been meaning to do a ‘Richmond by Water’, but I was having a difficult time finding someone with a boat willing to take me around. Well, I was recently hooked up with a company named ‘Steveston Eco Tours’, specifically a man by the named of Bruce Livingston. Bruce was kind enough to take me out on his six-man boat and sail around Richmond, offering a different perspective than you may be used to from the land. (or air!)
Bruce is the owner and operator of a small, new company named Eco Tours, based out of Steveston. He gets people out on the water to see Steveston, the Fraser River Estuary, the Gulf Islands, and shows them what this part of the world really has to offer. You would be amazed at the amount of history and sight seeing there is around Richmond accessible by water. I’ve lived here my whole life and was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful experience and new sights Bruce showed me.
Our entire trip was a relaxed two and a half hours. Bruce was a fantastic guide who was incredibly knowledgeable about the region and gave us insight into the history and workings of the mouth of the Fraser. We got a close and personal waterside look at the Steveston Harbour, Britannia Heritage Shipyards, Shady Island, Gulf of Georgia Cannery, down and around Garry Point, Scotch Pond, way out to the jetty to see a sea lion, Finn Slough, the BC Ferry wet dock, went overtop of the Massey Tunnel, and finally back to Paramount Pond, where we began. There was wildlife, fishing boats, freighters, tugs, pilot boats, the massive Fraser River dredgers, and just a ton to see on the water the whole time. Steveston is a very, very busy port, though you may not realize it from the land!
I really enjoyed seeing all the wildlife on the trip. My personal highlight was a 900 pound sea lion we saw on some rocks sun bathing by the Steveston jetty. We were able to get within twenty feet of him! Make sure you watch the video to get a close and personal look at him! Beyond that, we saw a couple seals, eagles, herons, snow geese, and many other local birds. Richmond really is a great setting to explore by water!
If you’re looking for a first class, friendly, personable guide, Bruce Livingston of Eco Tours is your man. We had a fabulous day on the water and I would recommend it to anyone. Thanks again Bruce for having me out!
Have fun and check out Richmond by water!
Tell him VideoChris sent you!
October 18, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Find more information about Richmond - Attractions
This week, in the spirit of Halloween, I ventured out with my two and a half year old neighbour Hudson to the pumpkin patch! The pumpkin patch is a fun destination packed full of activities and entertainment for the whole family! Located on Steveston Highway between No.5 and N0. 6, you will find everything there from mud, music, wagon rides, live shows, animals, a corn maze… and of course pumpkins!
I have fond memories as a child coming here and utterly caking myself in mud, finding the biggest and best pumpkin in the patch, and dragging it home for carving! I’m happy to say it’s exactly as I remember it, only this time, everything seems just a bit smaller. :)
Upon arriving I met up with Hudson, his father Doug, his mom Teresa, and their newborn, Finnegan. Hudson was very excited to get going!
Before starting we visited the small petting zoo near the entrance, complete with chickens, roosters, goats, and cows… or as Hudson called them ‘Moo Moos.’ We bought our tickets and headed in towards the famous wagon ride!
To get to the pumpkin patch, you must first hop on a hay wagon and enjoy a nice five minute ride through the farm and surrounding orchard. As you pass the serene sights of the dew filled fields and farm, you are sung to by a banjo wielding musician on the wagon! He does a good job at getting the kids going, as well as explaining the sights as they pass by. Soon, we were at the patch!
Beautiful! Pumpkins everywhere!!! Hudson and I were soon venturing out into the fields, with mud everywhere, hunting down the perfect pumpkin! After quite an extensive search over two different pumpkin fields Hudson located his pumpkin, as well as mine. It was a lot of fun watching Hudson romp around searching high and low for that perfect pumpkin. It brought back memories of when I was a child and I’m happy he got to experience it.
A short wagon ride later we were back at the farm, and in front of a giant box of delicious red apples. It’s tradition that after your hay ride and pumpkin search you reward yourself with a crunchy red apple! We watched a stage show with life-size characters dancing on the stage all to live music and soon were ready to head home with our prizes. What a great morning!
If you are in need of a pumpkin for Halloween, definitely head down to the pumpkin patch on Steveston Highway and get the full experience! It’s really a lot of fun for the whole family!
Thanks to Hudson and family for coming out and spending the day with me! Happy Halloween!
August 30, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Historic & Heritage Sites
Find more information about Richmond - Historic & Heritage Sites
It’s 30+ degrees on a sunny Saturday afternoon- what to do? In my case, I headed down to the Steveston Wharf to check out the bustling activity and meet a few of the fishermen that frequent the docks. I’ve done a fair amount of video on Steveston before, and I’ve even mentioned the wharf a couple of times—however, today I wanted to show you in much greater detail what is in my opinion the heart and essence of this quaint little fishing village.
Every weekend the docks absolutely come alive with activity. Why is this? It’s because this is when all of the fishing boats return with their delicious wares on full display for everyone to see and buy. It’s a lot of fun heading down there, regardless of whether you’re buying seafood or not, to see the beehive of activity. There are always shoulder-to-shoulder people strolling the boardwalk, checking out wares on the wharf, relaxing in small waterfront cafes, and eating delicious ice cream everywhere you look. This is the main appeal of the wharf area of Steveston and why so many people come to visit it every weekend.
While I was there I met up with Fisherman Joe and his son Chad. Fisherman Joe is a local fisherman, a regular on the docks, and without question owns one of the busiest stalls on the entire wharf! The pair has been selling fish for about 25 years now and is very well known on the docks! This particular day he was selling halibut and lingcod. I had a chance to talk to him and his son about their lives working out of Steveston. They typically do most of their fishing in the Queen Charlotte Sound and bring back lots of fish every trip, often times sold out before they even reach the harbour. Yes, that’s how popular Fisherman Joes fish is! My parents have bought off of him for years now and we are always notified by telephone before he comes in. I’ve had more than one plate of delicious halibut from Fisherman Joe!
If you’d like to check out Fisherman Joe yourself, their season typically runs from April to September. Their last trip this year will be September 1st!
If you’re a seafood fan, the Steveston wharf has an incredible selection of goods. There are ton of vendors there offering everything from fresh prawns, salmon, halibut, lingcod, to even sea urchins! (and much more… this is just what I saw in my brief time there today!)
The Steveston wharf is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon in Richmond! You’ll meet all sorts of interesting people down there as well as experience a multitude of sights, smells and sounds! Fresh seafood! Yum! Get out there this summer and enjoy it!
August 23, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Bird Watching
Find more information about Richmond - Bird Watching
Richmond is host to a number of very cool events each year. When I heard that the 4th annual Raptor Festival was to be held in Terra Nova Park, I immediately made plans to go check it out.
A raptor festival? What the heck is that? Raptors are the broad term for ‘birds of prey’. This is a one day event where the public can get up close and personal with eagles, hawks, falcons, vultures, owls, and many other predatory birds. They have educational displays, talks, and even live shows where you can see the birds in action. Very cool!
When I arrived I met up with one of the handlers, Robyn, and she introduced me to her harris hawk ‘Tuari’. Tuari was a beautiful bird and was very happy posing for my camera. I learned that harris hawks are considered ‘social birds’ as they hunt and travel in packs. They are referred to as the ‘wolves of the sky’ because of their pack mentality and teamwork in taking down prey. Known for being exceptionally intelligent, they have been traditionally used to help in places like landfills, airports and vineyards to deter problem birds.
Harris hawks are not native to BC; they are found around the South Western United States, especially Texas and Arizona. Our particular bird, Tuari, was three years old and expected to live to around thirty. Birds in captivity generally live a lot longer than birds in the wild as their food and shelter is provided for them. As Robyn joked, it’s like they are at the ‘Raptor Resort’. When asked why they don’t just take off and fly away when released, she stated that the birds realize the lifestyle they’ve been given and enjoy the perks. Would you leave an all-inclusive resort with free food? Neither would the hawks!
I was eager to see Tuari ‘in action’ and I soon got my chance! She put on a great show swooping over the crowd, soaring around the sky, and gliding in between Robyn and another handler. We saw several other birds during the show too, all of which entertained the excited crowd garnering loud applauses for their spectacular displays.
If you’ve never seen a birds of prey show before, I can’t recommend them enough. They’re entertaining, unique, and a fabulous way to spend an afternoon! Definitely keep an eye out for them when they return to Richmond!
August 02, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Car / Truck / Motorcycle
Hey everyone! Today was an awesome day as I headed down to the Richmond Go Karts track (the outdoor one) for some high-octane, turbo charged, fuel injected fun. Ok, maybe the karts weren’t THAT big, but they were an absolute blast to zip around in and kept my friend Jake and I busy for several hours. Read on to hear our epic battle versus the 7-year-old terrorist! What a day!
I’ve definitely filmed a lot of fun stuff in my life, but shooting shotgun while screeching around corners, burning though straightaways, and weaving around other karts was easily one of the best! The Richmond Go Kart track offers a huge outdoor paved course complete with straightaways, hairpin turns, and windy sections to fulfill your need for speed. They have single and double nine horse power karts and offer races with up to 25 people. (rough estimate from what I saw!)
The facility was well maintained, had a concession, plenty of sitting and spectating areas, and the karts were all in good working condition. The general demographic was young families, though you get a few older guys out there, too. What a great way to spend a sunny afternoon in Richmond!
One of the funny occurrences was our epic battle/race to the death with an aggressive 7 year old that found we had a camera and made it his new mission to drive us off the road. It was hilarious and awesome! He would slow down and wait for us and then cut us off and do all manner of things that would get you thrown in jail on an actual street. Luckily, thanks to Jake’s superior kart driving skills and my relentless taunts of victory we managed to survive the round and get some great footage to boot. Hey little dude, just wait till round 2! =p
Jake and I really had a great time out there. The karts handled well and the course was interesting and well laid out. If you’re looking for a great way to spend a sunny day head down to the Richmond Go Kart Track and burn some rubber!
July 26, 2011 | Tips from Travellers >
Richmond, Farms & Markets
Find more information about Richmond - Farms & Markets
Hey guys! It’s summertime in Richmond and you all know what that means- The Summer Night Market! I headed out with one of my best childhood friends, Kathryn, for a night of exotic foods, oddities, entertainment, and adventure!
What is the Summer Night Market? This is a giant outdoor market with lights, music, vendors, food, entertainment, and so much more… all with an Asian twist. Located on Vulcan Way in Richmond (Bridgeport and No. 5 Road area), this is a cool place to spend an evening exploring and eating your way through Richmond’s diverse culture… which is exactly what we did!
Kathryn and I went on a Sunday and it was PACKED! The atmosphere was electric, with shoulder-to-shoulder crowds admiring all the Asian trinkets and paraphernalia being sold. You can find almost anything here—and I mean ANYTHING! In the market for a new bejeweled cell phone case? Perhaps a pair of stylish shoes direct from the shores of Taiwan? Maybe you want a full blown samurai sword? No? Well, at least get some acupuncture while smoking your new hand crafted wooden pipe. The point is there is just a TON of interesting and unique things to check out there!
Though the trinkets and oddities are great, most people come for the FOOD! This is the main reason the Summer Night Market is famous. There is a stretch of shops in one section of the market with wall to wall vendors selling every variety of Asian cuisine you can think of, all for cheap affordable prices. It’s one of those situations where you get ‘a little bit here, and little bit there’, and sort of float around till you’re full. There’s no where else in the Lower Mainland you will find a more unique Asian food experience than this! It’s really a lot of fun!
Kathryn and I had all sorts of weird food including BBQ octopus, deep fried prawns, cheesy hurricane potato skewers (AMAZING; will blow your mind), classic chow mien, fresh coconut milk right out of the coconut, and even deep fried mango ice cream! It was fantastic!
There is also a main stage with constant performances AND karaoke (of course!), as well as street performers that entertain up and down the corridors.? Kathryn and I had an entertaining night full of exotic food, music, and entertainment! It’s definitely an experience and one you’re hard pressed to find anywhere else in Canada! Head down there next weekend and check it out for yourself! Oh, and make sure you try the ‘Hurricane Potato Skewers!’ They will shatter your beliefs to what is possible with a potato!
The Night Market is open Friday through Sunday from June till September every year.